Saturday, 09 December 2006 18:33

NASA'¦ it's time for a new Space Shuttle

Remember the movie Armageddon, where there were two new Space Shuttles ready and waiting for Bruce Willis and his crew to jump in and save the day? With NASA having so many issues just launching a space shuttle, let alone landing one safely, why aren’t we hearing more about a new spaceship?

In science fiction, space ships are capable of warp drive, taking us to other galaxies, effortlessly landing on other planets, and are fully capable of sustaining life for years at a time, with advanced internal recycling systems, food production systems, life support and plenty more.

But today’s space shuttles are barely more than Winnebago’s in space… and able to be very easily damaged. Exacting launch windows need to be observed, or the current Space Shuttle cannot launch, with days of delays between future launches.

It makes me sick to think of the billions and even trillions we waste on foreign wars while our space program ticks along at a snail like pace, with Americans having to rely upon the goodness of the Russians and their decades-old Soyuz space capsule to step in whenever NASA can’t get its act together. Why are we going to space in the 21st century with 1960s technology?!

With Russia re-asserting itself on the world stage, and the US economy slowing grinding into the dust thanks to massive debt levels in the government, business and real-estate addled consumer worlds, time is running out for the US to revitalize the space program before the country frankly runs out of money.

Indeed, it already has run out of money, with the US dollar steadily losing value against the Euro, other currencies and gold itself, and enormously huge budget deficits that may never be repaid. Perhaps in 20 or 30 years, the US government will be the recipient of the same debt elimination programs that the world grants to corrupt African countries today.

But the US is still a very powerful nation, with incredible resources at her disposal. Putting as much effort into the space program as possible can ensure US dominance in space, able to reach the unlimited resources of even our own solar system, let along the rest of the Universe.

Clearly, trillions of dollars are still to be spent, with all kinds of technologies yet to be invented before humans can truly explore strange new worlds a la Star Trek, or engage in the rough and ready intergalactic and interplanetary trading seen in the wonderful sci-fi epic Firefly, amongst countless other movies and sci-fi books. Even Stephen Hawking is urging us to get out there and explore, lest we be stuck on this blue ball forever.

C’mon NASA and the US Government. Stop dilly-dallying on space, or the Chinese will beat you to it. Do you really want that to happen?

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.





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